5 Gifts To Give Your Man On Father’s Day (And All Year Long)


A while ago, I wrote about the 5 Gifts To Give Yourself on Mother’s Day (And All Year Long). Now I’m following up with 5 gifts for Father’s Day. These gifts will not only delight your man, they’ll also benefit you and your kids. (And they’re free!)


1.  A Break From Your Criticism

As I’ve mentioned before, I became quite critical of Gavin’s parenting when Marissa was a baby. Having spent my entire pregnancy reading every parenting book I could get my hands on, my mind whirled with loads of contradicting information. It seemed like whenever Gavin made a parenting decision, I had data to support why it was the incorrect choice.


Then, if he chose differently the next time, I second-guessed myself and re-evaluated my initial line of reasoning. Nothing he did ever seemed good enough. But my controlling and irrational behavior really had nothing to do with him. He’d always been an involved father and quite capable of making smart decisions. In fact, he had way more experience with babies than I ever did.


The truth is that I felt so inept as a mother that my anxiety about doing everything “right” led me to micromanage his every move — and I probably wanted him to feel the same level of inadequacy as a parent, so I wouldn’t feel as bad about myself.


I know from my conversations with other women that I’m not the first wife to behave this way. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common. John Gottman, a top researcher on marriage, cautions couples who are critical of each other that when criticism becomes pervasive, it can often lead to more harmful effects such as contempt, defensiveness, and avoidance.


Don’t think for a minute that your criticism is helping your man become a better person. It’s much more likely to slowly beat him down and push him away. And, if you’re busy criticizing, you’re not appreciating, which brings us to Gift #2.


2.  Appreciation

Whenever I dwelled on the negative aspects of my marriage, I tended to overlook the positive. It’s easy to get sucked into a habit of complaining and focusing on what we don’t want, but everyone needs to feel accepted, appreciated, and admired.


When Gavin and I went to couples counseling, our therapist suggested an activity called “Rant of Appreciation.” The idea was that every night for two minutes (I set a timer) I would sit down with Gavin and rattle off all the things I could think of that I appreciated about him. Then he would do the same in return. Sometimes I would need to write things down during the day so I wouldn’t forget them later. Here are a few things I told him:


  • I love that you turn off the TV when I want to talk with you about something and you rarely seem bothered when I interrupt your shows/games.
  • I appreciate that you iron your own clothes
  • I appreciate how much you work to provide for our family.
  • I appreciate how hands-on you are with our girls and how much you do around the house.


Now, if you’re reading this and having a hard time thinking of things you value about your man, here are some examples of qualities you might consider noticing and appreciating: Funny, honest, loyal, responsible, confident, good listener, friendly, adventurous, hard-working, playful, physically fit, health-conscious, skillful, talented, generous, compassionate, sexy, intelligent, helpful. 


Surely you can find something to appreciate — after all, you married him!


3.  Time away from the kids (with you)

When the day-to-day responsibilities of parenthood and work consume your life, it’s easy to neglect your relationship with your spouse. Long ago, I read somewhere that many couples barely talk to each other for more than 10 minutes a day and their conversations mostly revolve around kids or household tasks. I thought, “Oh, how sad!” and then realized we were one of those couples.


Nurturing your marriage is not only vital to your children’s sense of security and happiness, but to your own happiness as well. Your kids will complain when you go out on date night, but they’ll get over it. Explain to them that Mommy and Daddy need alone time to talk about adult things and have fun together as a couple. Reassure them that you’ll return…most likely feeling relaxed and happy. Kids usually like the sound of that.


4. Time alone with the kids (without you)

You read that correctly. I’m suggesting you leave your husband alone with the kids. I know many women have a hard time with this – they don’t trust their husbands to do the “right” thing when they’re not around. Dr. Ron Taffel, the author of many parenting books asks, “Is it genuinely important to get ‘it’ exactly right, or would it be better to give Dad a chance to establish a stronger relationship with the kids?”


When you’re not around, your spouse has the opportunity to do things his way and connect with the kids on his terms. This is important for your kids, too, who need to develop a separate relationship with their Dad.


5.  Sex

For a long time after I had kids, I fooled myself into believing that sex wasn’t a big deal and that my marriage could survive just fine without it. I was a fool indeed.


Sex and intimacy are the things that set your relationship with your man apart from all the other relationships in your life. And though your libido may seem non-existent since having kids, his sex drive probably hasn’t changed a bit. Most women can get by on hugging, kissing, and snuggling to get their physical needs met. We respond sexually when we’re emotionally satisfied. But for most men, they respond emotionally when they are sexually satisfied. Figures, doesn’t it?


A man’s sexuality is an important aspect of his self-image. Repeated rejection takes a toll on his self-esteem and leaves him feeling inadequate and resentful.


Let me be clear about something. I’m not telling you to have sex with your man just to make him happy (although it will). YOU deserve a great sex life, too! If you’re not having regular sex with your spouse, it’s time to reclaim your sexuality and get your groove on.


I know you’re tired at the end of the day (so is he). I know you feel embarrassed about the weight you’ve put on (he doesn’t care). I know there are a million other things that need to get done (they can wait). Your relationship requires that you nurture your sex life. And here’s the secret: the more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it. Yee-haw!


So, there you have it. 5 Gifts for Father’s Day and every day. You might want to throw in a tie and a framed picture of the kids, too.


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Showing 14 comments
  • Emilie

    wow…I needed you 20 years ago!! have just muddled(?).. plodded on…trying to figure it out….We did Not know how to speak to each other about our needs…. too much happened ..child, war, another child.. to have time to relate, readjust.. find better solutions….. . Keep going Pam..we need your amazing honesty and ability to express what we all feel! love you

    • Pam Howard

      Thank you, Emilie. Everyone does the best they know how at the time. Things are so different today than when my parents were growing up. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to share my mistakes and opinions openly so that parents don’t have to “muddle” though this alone. Thanks for your beautiful comment. Love you, too.

  • ministajazz

    great suggestions all very easy on the budget…lol I am excited about this father’s day because I get to be super creative. Thank you for these suggestions and my favorite it #5

  • claire gillenson

    Woot woot! This is a keeper! Not just for Father’s Day for everyday! 🙂

  • tpena

    Awesome! Great post. Most of this is true for EVERY relationship, whether you have kids or not.

  • Dave Conrey

    As one of the aforementioned males, all I can say is YES to all of this. Now, how to subtly put this in front of my wife without it being an affront to her sensibilities.

  • Bernice Strul

    Wish I’d read the blog before I bought the watch! Just kidding…this is an excellent list of what’s important in a relationship.

    • Pam Howard


      I’m sure the watch is nice, too:) xoxo

  • Cassie

    I love these ideas. Gifts for the man in the house is usually the hardest to get and your ideas makes it easy for anyone to give and does not cost a cent. I have been wanting to schedule regular date nights with my husband for a while but it is hard without close family support (both our families are overseas). We make do with spending some time just catching up on each other’s day after the kids have gone to bed 🙂

    • Pam Howard

      Hi Cassie!

      Date nights are so important. Could you hire a babysitter or even take turns with a friend watching each other’s kids?

      Keep taking the time to talk to your husband after the kids are asleep or even try to carve out 5 minutes to talk to each other in front of the kids. It’s important for them to see you as people (not just parents) and see you connecting.

      Thanks for commenting! xoxo!

  • Camesha

    “We respond sexually when we are emotionally satisfied. But for most men, they respond emotionally when they are sexually satisfied.”

    My friend and I had this discussion. It’s so true! Women can get anything we want after sex. A man can get anything he wants after doing the laundry!

    Everything on this list would make for a wonderful father’s day!

    • Pam Howard

      Haha! Now if we can just persuade them to do the laundry…
      Thanks for your comment, Camesha!

  • Sabrina Bolin

    This is a brilliant list (well without the kids part) for ANY relationship! And #5 is a great reminder for me – you’re so right about experiencing intimately differently than men, so it’s always good for me to remember that our mutual pleasure is part of what makes our relationship so awesome!

    • Pam Howard

      Hi Sabrina! I’m so glad you recalled how your mutual pleasure makes for a great relationship! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Have an awesome Father’s Day (wink, wink)!

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